Here’s why residents oppose greater housing density

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

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Development: Why residents object to greater housing density

Infrastructure Victoria is calling for greater housing density in established suburbs that already have essential infrastructure (“Call to open up Melbourne’s middle suburbs”, 28/3). Meanwhile the property industry claims that the biggest obstacle to housing densification is community opposition.

I live in a suburb that has seen significant densification and am aware of what community opposition typically entails. Residents are objecting to seven-storey apartment buildings jammed up against single-storey houses (“Family’s fight for the right to backyard sunlight”, The Age, 9/3). They object to developers stuffing in as many apartments as they can – building right to the boundary and having minimal green space. Indeed, most new apartments don’t even have cross ventilation.
Residents object to developers creating new hazards. Indeed, a recent apartment block proposal in Brunswick proposed to turn a walking/cycling/dining laneway into the access for garbage collection. The layout would also have seen delivery trucks channelled into a very narrow residential street. And developers mock us when we object to their poor designs.

But the biggest cause of concern for residents is the extra cars. Here the state government must step in by providing better public transport, and walking and cycling infrastructure throughout our residential areas. We can densify if we can get a transport system that is safe, convenient, accessible and sustainable for everyone.
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick

Bigger questions
Infrastructure Victoria’s website says it is an independent advisory body, advising government and carrying out research regarding planning and infrastructure.

Unfortunately, this is no guarantee of quality. Population growth has long been promoted as a major component of economic growth. The appallingly designed housing and planning around our major cities has thus far been the outcome. Now, squeezing “low-rise” apartments and fast-tracking approvals is being promoted for middle-ring suburbs with generally low-rise housing.

What about the encroachment on the existing green spaces, including the gardens and trees that provide amenity in older suburbs, not to mention defences against global warming? What about the impact on the environment of more cars arriving with greater population and housing density? What about demanding the best design and building quality standards, notably absent this far?
As housing affordability declines, pressure to increase supply invariably rises. Unless the dangers to short-term liveability and long-term planetary degradation are safeguarded, we should not be swayed by advisers, independent or not.
Rosemary Kiss, Rippleside

Lost sight of the future
It’s time to pull the developers into line following years of rogues running amok over local government and state government planning. The Melbourne 2030 planning framework first set down in 2002 has been trashed and Victoria is experiencing the results. Twenty years ago the Bracks government forecast the future but subsequent governments lost their way.
Margaret Raffle, Keilor East

Seeing red everywhere
Infrastructure Victoria wants to “bypass red tape” – but rules that stop inappropriate development are not red tape, for example, the proposed seven-storey apartment block next to a single-storey house in Brunswick.
John Hughes, Mentone

Movement risks
It’s not surprising our Pacific neighbours might think “free people movement” to Australia would be to their benefit (“Island nations float a big idea”, 28/3). However, I’m not sure it is in Australia’s interests to allow unrestricted migration to this country, given the downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on house prices that would follow.
David Francis, Ivanhoe


Jailed journalist
I doubt Daniel Andrews has any intention of raising the plight of Australian journalist Cheng Lei while on his visit to China (“Premier should raise TV anchor’s plight during China trip: family”, 28/3). He wouldn’t want to upset his friends. He’ll just have to block her out of his mind while doing a photo shoot with the pandas.
Russell Brims, Bentleigh East

Hack solution
Stories of businesses being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen, have become common. Having been a victim of both the Optus and Medicare hacks, and now having to deal with the numerous scam messages I receive, as well as the recent fraudulent use of my credit card, I can sympathise with the 8 million victims of the recent Latitude hack.

The solution seems simple. When I pay a bill at a restaurant that business does not keep my personal or financial details. So why are online businesses able to store this information? Surely legislation is needed to stop businesses from keeping personal and financial information.
Robert Campbell, Brighton East

Worth celebrating
How inspirational to read of the long hours and hard work of people such as Professor Catherine Bennett (“It’s hard if you can never escape it’: An epidemiologist’s three years of fame”, 28/3). She sacrificed much to bring to our attention, via various media platforms, all the information about the pandemic. Similarly Professor Mary-Louise McLaws and Professor Sharon Lewin.

Perhaps we do not value and laud these people as we should. Leaders like Winston Churchill and Ben Chifley may go down in the history books due to their wider responsibilities but these women are great.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

Pesutto needs support
Moira Deeming has taken Liberal right wing intransigence to a whole new level. The party room gave Deeming a way back (“Pesutto had no choice but to backflip”, 28/3) bizarrely substituting suspension for expulsion but she immediately courted controversy on Twitter. That shouldn’t mean John Pesutto’s leadership goes out the back door, but the moderates need to get more strongly behind him.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Call in the receivers
If only the half a million or so Tasmanians are currently under a Liberal government and the other 25 million-plus of us are governed by Labor, that gives the Liberals a “national market share” of approximately 2 per cent.

If this happened anywhere else in the country, in almost any kind of business, it would be time to “put up the crippled horse curtain” and call in the receivers.
Kevin Chambers, Greensborough

The new normal?
Those on both sides of politics who have sneered at the Greens for their “woke” ideas and ideals must feel chastened. The deal struck between Labor and the Greens is a significant improvement on the one originally proposed and more in line with community expectations (“Greens strike deal on Labor’s climate bill”, 28/3). The continuing surge of young left-leaning voters who question the neo-capitalist model will ensure the LNP remains the ranting remnant of a once respected political party. The new political landscape is not an aberration, it is the new normal.
Peter Barry, Marysville

Asleep to Earth’s needs
The Greens have had to compromise and it is being applauded as good policy. How can it be good policy when it does not deliver what scientists say is needed to keep warming at 1.5 degrees? Our beloved Mother Earth is so far past compromise but we are asleep at the wheel as always.
Phil Labrum, Flemington

Effective collaboration
I applaud the federal parliament for demonstrating much needed leadership on climate via the reformed safeguard mechanism. Wonderful to see constructive collaboration between Labor and the Greens resulting in regulation that will drive emissions down. By refusing to negotiate, the Coalition (with the exception of Bridget Archer) has unfortunately further cemented its irrelevance.
Amy Hiller, Kew

Face reality
Many politicians treat the public as selfish mugs, who inhabit a fantasy land where there are no costs associated with past excesses and mistakes. Accordingly, the Coalition opposed Labor’s climate bill, arguing it would drive up costs for consumers. It is probably right, and shareholders in some energy providers – myself included – may lose money.

Similarly, there may be costs associated with constitutional recognition of the Voice, like those who are imposed on by essential environmental protection processes.

It’s time politicians addressed voters as responsible adults, so that we can have mature debates about matters of national and global importance – rather than pandered to sectional interests, or sniffed the breeze for any chance of short-term political advantage.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne

Driving away audiences
Several recent articles in The Age have discussed the consequences of the ABC’s strategy aiming to increase the audience for its radio programs. It is a mystery why the ABC board aimed to penetrate an already saturated market providing for “younger” listeners on the assertion promoted by some that the ABC needed to widen its audience. The consequence has been that older listeners have left or substantially reduced their listening time.

In addition, reducing news services to five minutes from Sydney certainly drives listeners away, which seems to be the ABC strategy.
Bruce McGregor, Brunswick.

What price quiet?
The British have found that 18.4 per cent of people have symptoms of misophonia (“Finding a name for the sounds that can put a person on edge”, 27/3) and found the prevalence surprising. Really? Is this a disease, a “strong emotional response to certain noises”, or a perfectly human response to noise pollution? Devices clamouring for our attention, loud discordant music on TV lest our attention lag, the barking of bored, lonely dogs, traffic hum and, as mentioned in recent letters to The Age, unrelenting, “loud music and commentary” at AFL matches.

It’s notable that those who profit most from this commercial environment enjoy sound separation in stadium boxes, spacious homes and rural retreats.
Debra Vickers, Binginwarri

Revere the bats
It’s time to address an image problem haunting our cleanest, most well-groomed, loving, and intelligent mammals: fruit bats (“Bats are not out of hell, as two artists reveal”, 26/3). An unfounded and innate fear of these “bats” or grey-headed flying foxes sadly persists.

In actuality they are heroes, working to ensure vital biodiversity in our forests. Fruit bats are listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). Let’s visit the Birrarung flying fox colony, work to better understand these beautiful animals, and restore their rightful image.
Isabelle Henry, Ascot Vale

Ride of beauty
Your correspondent is quite right to raise the need to retain the Domain Road tram (Letters, 28/3). Many people from regional Victoria enjoy arriving at Southern Cross, going to Flinders Street, then catching this tram down Domain Road to these perfect gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens are truly a national treasure, and the Domain Road route gives great access for all Victorians, indeed all Australians and overseas visitors. It should be about access to things of beauty, not just business and profit.
Darryl Cloonan, Ballarat

Paying dues
Re “When living longer means getting no value for funeral insurance” (26/3), the day I turned 65 I got an invitation by mail to take out funeral insurance. To check its value, I calculated that the premiums would pay the insured amount by the time I was aged 79. As male life expectancy for 65-year-olds at the time was 81, the average male would therefore pay two years’ premiums more than the sum insured.

The next day I got a phone call from the insurance company, asking if I had received their offer and my response. I replied with my calculations and that those two years were where they made their money, plus interest on the premiums. As I was in good health, I didn’t think it was good value. The older I lived, the worse the value. Even with their insurance, I was paying for it over time anyway.
The only value was if I died in the next few years.

The caller was stumped by this. It was clear that few people did this calculation.
Paying the premiums to yourself makes much more sense.
I am now nearly 78.
Michael Meszaros, Alphington

Hidden horrors
I forced myself to watch the horrific footage of pigs being gassed to become the meat on our supermarket shelves as featured on the ABC’s 7.30.

It is an awful, distressing death and I admire those brave enough to expose this abhorrent cruelty.
In most industries, if a method is devised to achieve an outcome and it’s not effective, it’s worked on until it is and then it is released for use. Unless it involves animals and profit. Think live export, slaughterhouses, horse racing, greyhound racing, duck shooting — all these practices continue even while the cruelty is proven time and time again.

If pig farmers are happy to support current methods, then they should demand cameras oversee gassing chambers to prove efficacy and humaneness. Until this transparency is achieved, the horrors will unlikely cease.
Louise Page, Tyabb

And another thing

Dutton and Voice
Can the Liberal Party survive if it supports the No case for the Voice?
Margaret Lothian, Middle Park

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

The Liberal Party apparently wants the Voice referendum to fail but doesn’t want the blame. At least the Nationals have the intestinal fortitude to be clear on their position.
Vincent O’Donnell, Ascot Vale

The Voice – a salve to sooth the spirits of the long dispossessed. Peter Dutton – the fly in the ointment.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

Two very promising Liberal politicians – Matt Kean (former NSW treasurer) and John Pesutto. One deciding not to stand for the leader of the opposition position, and the other probably wishing he hadn’t.
Kevan Porter, Alphington

Thanks to the mutually healthy respect that Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns graciously displayed throughout their robust electoral campaign, civility under pressure was the ultimate winner of the NSW election.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham

Premier, without any journalists travelling with you to China, how will we get the truth on your trip?
Roger Christiansz, Wheelers Hill

I am totally devastated after reading of the plight of whistleblower Richard Boyle. The scales of justice need recalibrating as they are definitely inaccurate.
Carol Stephens, Mount Waverley

Someone who stands above the crowd calling out a wrong will always be admired. Shame on the rest of us.
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale

Back in the 1960s, Lyndon B. Johnson envisaged The Great Society. Look what he got (“‘Some resentment’ may have fuelled school shooter’s attack, says police chief”, 28/3).
John Rawson, Mernda

For God’s sake America, get some control and stop shooting your children at school.
Graham Cadd, Dromana

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